7 Eco-Friendly & Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials

Eco friendly food packaging manufacturers - Eco friendly food packaging for small business

Eco-friendly food packaging materials are becoming more and more popular, but there are caveats.

The use of plastic is the most urgent environmental problem that humanity needs to solve in order to reduce global warming. Since most of this waste comes from the food industry and its packaging, it is important to know the types of green food packaging.

Millions of tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean, affecting human and animal health. Since plastic has a long decomposition time, alternatives must be found for food storage and transportation.

Glass, stainless steel, wood, and bamboo have all been presented as viable plastic replacement options.

Eco-friendly food packaging

Eco-friendly food packaging refers to packaging containers made from raw materials that are less polluting than fossil fuels. In a study published inĀ  ‘ ScienceDirect’, eco-friendly food packaging was presented as an alternative to plastic packaging, which accounts for 40% of total fossil fuel production.

There are many materials that are more environmentally friendly than plastic. These include glass, bamboo, wood, and stainless steel. The use of these eco-friendly packaging materials has many advantages, such as short decomposition time, biodegradability or compostability.

On the other hand, it does not interfere with the taste of food and can withstand high temperatures. Depending on the material, durability is short, but to protect the environment, ecological type of food packaging must be used for daily consumption.

Why do we need different types of eco-friendly food packaging

Another study by ‘ScienceDirect‘ estimates that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year. As a result, there are already more than five islands formed from plastic waste.

These wastes take years, sometimes decades, to decompose. However, when exposed to UV rays, wind, and wave abrasion, it fragments into particles called nano plastics.

These microscopic particles affect aquatic ecosystems and are eaten by marine fauna and humans. This has been proven by several scientific studies.

Toxicity of Plastic Packaging

Another reason to reduce plastic packaging consumption is that dozens of chemicals used in production are harmful to human health. According to this study, 906 types of polymers, adhesives, and other chemical additives make up plastic packaging.

Among them, 63 species are endangering human health and 68 species are likely to pollute the environment. This only takes into account intentionally added chemicals.

There are other impurities that arise during the manufacturing process or are by-products of additive decomposition. This is known as Unintentionally Added Substance or NIAS and represents other hazards that are difficult to determine and investigate.

7 Eco-Friendly Food Packaging Materials

According to a UN report, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. The use of single-use plastics in food packaging should also be reduced.

Several studies have analyzed more environmentally friendly alternatives for storing, preserving, and transporting food. Cellulose nanofibers, biopolymers based on essential oils, wheat, wood, and bamboo are often used as raw materials for biodegradable packaging materials.

That is, they are degraded under natural environmental conditions by biological agents such as fungi, plants, bacteria, animals, and sunlight. Eco-friendly containers contain fewer chemicals than plastic, which is good for human health and the environment.

1) Wooden Container

Wooden containers are reusable. According to a study published in ‘ ScienceDirect’, wheat pulp packaging and wooden plates are safe for human health. Although it contains some chemicals, the transfer rate to food is much lower compared to plastics.

Wooden containers are a great reusable option. Corrugated cardboard is nice, but not sustainable.

Eco friendly food packaging glass bottles

2) Glass bottle

Glass is a versatile material that is durable and recyclable. Studies have shown that glass containers for food use are recommended because of their antibacterial properties and less migration of toxic substances into the food.

Glass bottles are increasingly used and come in a variety of designs. However, pay attention to hygiene so that bacteria do not accumulate in the mouth of the bottle.

3) Eco-friendly food packaging: PLA cups

PLA cups are similar to regular cups and are ideal for water, juice, and all cold beverages. More people are using it because of its compostability. That is, it decomposes in a short time in the natural environment.

It is also made from environmentally friendly polymers from potato starch, corn starch, and other plants. A variant with another additive called CPLA is also used to withstand high temperatures.

4) Eco-friendly packaging using rice hulls

Packaging materials made from rice hulls obtained from rice cultivation are biodegradable, economical, and durable. In addition, scientific studies have shown that this absorbent material has the potential to remove several contaminants. A variety of containers for transporting food are available for sale.

5) Bamboo

eco friendly bamboo packaging - How to make bamboo packaging
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Bamboo fibers are widely used to make biodegradable packaging materials such as bowls, boxes, lids, and jars. A study published in ‘ScienceDirect’ highlights mechanical and thermal properties that are very advantageous for this purpose. However, it has the disadvantage that it wears out faster than other materials.

6) Sugar Cane

Sugar cane bagasse is a collection of fibers left over from the industrial processing of sugar cane. This material began to be used as a basis for the manufacture of food distribution containers. Research has demonstrated its storage potential thanks to its resistance to high temperatures.

Containers made from sugar cane look very similar to plastic containers.

7) Eco-friendly food packaging: stainless steel

As a resistant, durable, and reusable material for food storage, there is nothing better than stainless steel. They can be used for items like lunchboxes or thermoses, and airtight containers are often used to store grains, flour, and spices.

Types of disposable plastic items and precautions

Eco friendly food packaging manufacturers

Plastic items made from petroleum derivatives are discarded after a single use. Because it takes years, even decades, to decompose, it causes serious damage to the environment.

However, plastic containers can transfer toxic substances to food. According to the science portal Environmental Health, plastic containers are a pathway through which materials in contact with food are exposed to harmful chemicals.

Therefore, it is better to avoid using single-use plastic items such as:

  • Disposable cups and cutlery
  • Straw
  • Vinyl wrapper
  • Party
  • Envelope

Tips for using eco-friendly food packaging instead of plastic

Spain and the European Union have new legislation restricting the sale of single-use plastics. However, there are also actions you can take in your daily life. Using cloth eco bags, and recycled or reusable sanitary products can help.

Avoid single-use tableware and packaging by prioritizing eco-friendly food packaging. In addition, more and more eco-friendly food packaging materials are available, giving you more choices.


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